Be A Demo Cannibal! by J. Michael Collins
Jul 05 2013
Pay to Play sites like Voices.com & Voice123.com are an essential part of almost any voice actor’s marketing plan. And like anything new, most people find they take some getting used to. You’ve already worked methodically to develop your talent and build your studio. Here’s a guide to Pay to Play, so you don’t have to learn it through the frustration of trial-and-error.
The online marketplace is hugely competitive, and talents who prepare themselves properly for it have a huge advantage. Don’t believe the naysayers … people MAKE REAL MONEY from these sites, but only if they know the secrets of how to use them.
Here’s something a lot of people don’t know about P2P sites: 30-40% of the work being booked from these sites never makes it to a public audition.
What do I mean? Try using the search-talent feature on Voices.com or Voice123. Many voice seekers at these sites search demo categories or keywords. They then listen to a dozen or two demos, and send private invitations to the talents they like best. Sometimes 50 people are invited, but most of the time those private invitations go to no more than a dozen hand-selected people. Each of those talents suddenly has a far better chance of booking that job than they would in a public open call.
Often, I’ll get a private invitation where I am the only invited talent, which is almost a guaranteed job, and a chance to max out the voice seeker’s budget.
BUT … if you have only one demo, listed in only one category, good luck getting found through a category search. If your demos aren’t tagged with keywords, (especially on Voices.com), you’re invisible when someone seeks a voice by clicking the word “Friendly.”
So make sure you have as many quality demos as possible on your profile, slotted into the appropriate categories, and tagged with good keywords.
Don’t have a lot of demos, or the cash to make more? Be a demo cannibal. In other words, if you have one demo with a variety of reads on it, excerpt a number of “mini-demos” from it! List each in an appropriate category.
Even if that results in some of your demos having only a single read, that’s better than not being searchable at all.
In at least one appropriate category, post the full version of your demo, just for the record.
And, if your demo fits multiple genres, stick it in all that apply. For example, have a listen to my TV Commercial and my Radio Commercial demos on Voices.com. Surprise … they are identical! Why is it up there twice? Well, a commercial is a commercial, but Voices has two commercial categories, and now I am searchable in both. So take the demos you have, and list them in as many categories as you reasonably can (as long as the material more or less fits). BOOM … more searches, more private invitations!
Naturally, it would always be better to have a rocking pro demo for every category, and hopefully you will grow to where that is attainable someday. The more you work, the sooner that day will come. So meanwhile, use these tricks to get more listens, more private invitations, and to start taking advantage of the 1/3 of the marketplace you may be missing out on!